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The Haunted Code
Dreamed 2017/6/16 by Wayan
For myopic old Adam Smith
I'm illustrating my alternate world Abyssia. Inspired by an early Tom Killion black-&-white print of a California girl kneeling by a dead seal, I sketch onscreen--draw a faux woodblock print of an Abyssian girl crouching on a beach, looking sadly at a dead seal--though of course she's not human, but a foxtaur. Fun... until the freeware crashes!
An hour later, I've mostly redrawn my parody/tribute/altworld riff... still not quite done. But I'm exhausted. Save it and go to bed...
A specter haunts a mail-order
device, lurking in the code. Where
and why'd it spookify? Unclear.
But a robotic Kansas ware-
house distributes it over and over.
Each addressee (poor sucker) never
knows of the guest. However, whatever
they say upon its deliver-
y becomes sacred to the ghost.
Follows the holy word unasked.
No poltergeist--no malice in the play,
just unwanted diligence
blind to consequence, like a Golem or
Mickey's brooms, or the Monkey's Paw,
or any Chicago Economist's
mind of clammy Clay.
I follow four cases--or golem par-
ables. Each user eventually understands
the product is somehow to blame, and
returns it as defective. But the ware-
house testing-bot finds it good to go,
so out it sends the haunted pack-
age to victim anew. For the random talk
the ghost-code hears as setup commands
are always unique. So it runs amok
uniquely too. Hard to see an MO!
and poltergeists don't mix.
No deaths so far, but close. And lots
of material costs. The '18 killer flu
came from haunted Kansas too;
beware those heartland bots.
NOTES IN THE MORNING
- Kansas, the killer flu: true. The 1918 plague killing 20 million people was brewed in the cost-efficient, economies-of-scale stockyards of Kansas. Happy centennial! Today, the state instinctively, robotically votes to deregulate Big Ag and Industry, trusting Adam Smith's "hidden hand" to keep 'em clean and fit. Since their track record's been so great.
- Code causing mayhem: the free Open Source graphics program I use, appropriately dubbed GIMP, trashed an hour or two of painting today. Gotta save my changes every few minutes, I guess. Sheesh. Why don't I dump that clunky socialist freeware, face that the profit motive builds a better mousetrap, and switch back to Photoshop or Painter? Well... because on my current art-machine, a deliberately vanilla PC, the three versions of Photoshop I own won't even boot. Not one. DIY is clunky, but it beats DOA!
- Any larger lesson? Well...
- You only see the flaws you test for. Don't believe in ghosts, don't believe we're haunted by history? Then ghosts are what you get.
- There's a blind, reckless spirit haunting late capitalism. Can we avoid more poltergeist wreck? I'm not sanguine--old Adam's Unseen Hand gropes around our neck.
My account came up more than $300 short--for a service I never ordered or received. I strictly limit my online buying to the few items I really can't get locally--but my account data was still hacked! This dream was ten weeks before the theft, the first online theft I've experienced. Despite consumer restraint.
The dream was right; the net's dangerously hackable. Caveat Emptor! Buyer Beware.
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At the time:
computers & Net -
poems - one from the Digital Bronze Age on crashing art-programs:
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